It is with great pleasure that I join you in recognizing the new Kyoto Prize laureates after a delay of one year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureates: Dr Andrew Chi-Chih Yao in the category of Advanced Technology, Dr Robert G. Roeder in the category of Basic Sciences, and Dr Bruno Latour in the category of Arts and Philosophy.
For many years, the three laureates have contributed to the progress of science and the arts, striven to make our society more prosperous and sophisticated, and dedicated countless efforts to encouraging the aspirations and happiness of humankind. I would like to express my profound admiration for their exceptional achievements.
While in normal circumstances we would gather around the laureates in Kyoto to celebrate their accomplishments in various ways, the uncertainty surrounding the various different aspects of the COVID19 pandemic has forced us to abandon such thoughts in the interests of public safety. However, I remain confident that the wisdom of human society, which the Kyoto Prize has celebrated over the years, will eventually overcome this crisis, and allow us to celebrate the achievements of the laureates in person in the near future.
Kazuo Inamori, the founder of the Inamori Foundation, believes that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humanity and the world. It was in line with this philosophy that the Kyoto Prize was created in 1984 to recognize persons who have made outstanding contributions to the progress of science, the advancement of civilization, and the enrichment and elevation of the human spirit. The prize has now come to be recognized as one of Japan’s foremost international awards.
I sincerely hope that the three outstanding individuals who have this year been added to the illustrious list of Kyoto Prize laureates will continue to pursue their successful endeavours and, in doing so, further support the happiness and tranquillity of humankind, and that the Kyoto Prize, in its ongoing celebration of human wisdom, will also continue to make significant contributions to the future of human society.
On behalf of the Inamori Foundation, we wish to extend our sincere congratulations to the 2021 Kyoto Prize laureates: Dr. Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, computer scientist and Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University, in the category of Advanced Technology; Dr. Robert G. Roeder, biochemist and molecular biologist, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University, in the category of Basic Sciences; and Dr. Bruno Latour, philosopher and Professor Emeritus at Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), in the category of Arts and Philosophy. We are truly honored and delighted to be able to add such prestigious names to the history of the Kyoto Prize.
The Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Kazuo Inamori, the founder of KYOCERA Corporation. Since the first award presentation ceremony, which took place in the following year, the Kyoto Prize has been presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to humankind through their outstanding achievements in the three categories of Advanced Technology, Basic Sciences, and Arts and Philosophy.
When Inamori created the Kyoto Prize, he compiled his thoughts in the form of the Philosophy behind the awards program. In this Philosophy, he describes his desire to give back to the world, to which he feels deeply indebted, and his hopes for a balance between scientific/technological progress and spiritual depth, in keeping with his conviction that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of humankind and society. Every previous recipient of the Kyoto Prize has possessed the drive and ability to change the future of humanity for the better. Their passion for work, love for humanity, and purpose-driven lifestyles have never failed to impress us profoundly. Through the Kyoto Prize, Inamori’s thinking has found many empathetic to his cause.
It is the sincere wish of the Inamori Foundation that the Kyoto Prize will continue to foster the scientific and spiritual betterment of humankind and forever contribute to the well-being and stability of human society.
Last year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the agonizing decision to cancel the 2020 Kyoto Prize events program. Unfortunately, the lingering impact of the pandemic once again prevents us from welcoming the laureates to Kyoto for a ceremony to celebrate this year’s prize laureates; however, we have decided to make their commemorative lectures available online. We will be delighted if many people take this opportunity to listen to the lectures, which we hope will help to deepen their understanding of both the laureates and the Kyoto Prize itself as they get to know each laureate's background, profound intellect, expertise, and fascinating personality.
We want to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to everyone involved in the selection process, the Government of Japan, the Kyoto Prefectural Government, the Kyoto City Government and other government officials, and the many others to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. We sincerely hope that, sooner rather than later, we will again be able to hold ceremonies and commemorative events here in Kyoto to celebrate the splendid achievements of Kyoto Prize laureates.